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Fundraiser for DUII Crash Victim

Shane Potter and Jessica Neffendorf

CORVALLIS, Ore. – An Oregon State University student is still in critical condition after police say a man drove impaired last week and crashed into her car, and a friends are raising money to pay for her medical bills.

On Thursday afternoon, Benton County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested 29-year-old Matthew Cannard of McMinville on DUII and reckless driving charges, after they say he drove through a red light and crashed into Jessica Neffendorf’s vehicle outside of Corvallis.

“I feel like her life has been put on pause,” said Neffendorf’s boyfriend, Shane Potter. “If not taken away.”

Potter says his girlfriend is still in the Intensive Care Unit at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Corvallis.

“It’s something that’s very near and dear to my heart because she’s my son’s – it’s the love of his life,” said Sam Potter, Shane’s father.

“Once I heard that Jessica had gotten in this horrific accident, I thought, what can I do to help?”

Sam Potter drove to Corvallis from Vancouver, Wa. on Wednesday not only to visit Neffendorf, but to help out.

“I purchased the domain name: www.jessicaneffendorf.com,” he said. “I know there’s obviously medical bills, and things like that that are going to pile up and it often times adds another tragedy onto one that was already there when it affects so many peoples’ lives.”

He started a medical fund for Neffendorf and her family.

“It was the last thing that Shane or her family needed to worry about,” Potter said. “They need to be in there with her.”

Shane says his girlfriend has been making a lot of improvements.

“She’s done really well with all her surgeries. All of her abdomen injuries and internal bleeding has been solved. The doctors have done such a great job here. I’m a realistic person and she’s really given me a lot of hope.”

Now, they’re focusing on her head injuries.

“Patience has been something that we’ve had to practice,” Shane said. “It’s been difficult but you know, we’ve had to do it.”

He says Neffendorf has been blinking, opening and closing her mouth, and gripping his hand.

“It’s the little successes that we’re building off of,” he said. “And those moments mean everything. Being next to her and having those little breaths of life.”

Shane says since the crash on Thursday, he hasn’t left the hospital.

“Today was the first time I went home and that was to get a new change of clothes. So I’ve literally been here at the hospital the entire time.”

Never leaving her side.

“And that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’m never going to leave her side.”

Shane says if he has one message for the public, it is to never drive impaired.

“This stuff is real,” he said. “I never thought it would happen to me and it’s hit me straight in the center of the heart. So I want people to be really aware of what it can do.”

Donations can be made to the Jessica Neffendorf Foundation by clicking here. You can also make a donation at any US Bank in the country.

“Give what you can,” Sam Potter said. “And if you can’t afford money, give her your prayers. Because she needs your prayers too.”

2 comments

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  1. Michael Parker says:

    Be responsible any time you have been drinking. Recruit a non-drinking driver or find alternative transportation.

    Drinking and driving can have these consequences. I’m 78 years old and a former Oregon State student who began a serious drinking problem in college. I’ve lived a sober life since 1982 and am thankful I was not resonsible for a DUII tragedy like this.

    Be safe and be sober and don’t drive if you’ve been drinking.

    Best wishes for a safe and sober holiday season!!!

  2. mary echo says:

    Hi I just read your story and I am appalled. I am the mother of a 21 yr. old daughter. She was permanently injured with multiple trauma injuries back in august due to a drunk driver and it has changed our lives forever. I had to take a leave from work to care for her. Her injuries are so severe she is still in a wheelchair and has no function of her left arm or hand. We have battled the hospital hired a lawyer who has done little to speed the process of recovery for us. The man had no insurance and the california court system is slow to prosecute and recover money. As a result of this negligent act, our lives will never be the same again. We are told the man had previous DUI’s my question is why are these repeat offenders back on the road? when will the laws change to protect citizens against these crime? you have my prayers as my daughter prepares for her 21st surgery I hope one day these people, all of them who have destroyed the lives of innocent people, pay for their crimes. In my heart I know no amount of money or punishment can ever take the place of the life my daughter is now being robbed of. Hang in there. best wishes. mary echo

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